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How to Become a Police Officer in Aurora

An estimated 367,250 residents live in Aurora, Colorado, which is a major suburb of Denver and the third-largest city in Colorado overall.1 While the city has much to offer residents, it also has higher-than-average violent and property crime rates.2 The Aurora Police Department (APD) works to reduce these crime rates through proactive police work. About 729 sworn officers and 239 civilian employees work for the APD to support a safe living environment for residents and visitors.3 Continue reading to learn more about police careers in Aurora, Colorado.

Aurora Police Officer Requirements

The Aurora Police Department recruiting process follows a competitive civil service model which ranks applicants through each stage of the hiring process. The process begins with prerequisites that all prospective officers must satisfy. To be eligible to join the APD, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have 20/20 vision (corrected or uncorrected) with normal color, field, night, peripheral, and distance vision
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no disqualifying misdemeanor convictions, including domestic violence

The selection process for those who qualify begins with two competitive exams, the FrontLine video law enforcement exam and a physical fitness test. Prospective recruits must also attend one of the department’s “So, you want to be a Cop?” seminars. Upcoming dates and times for the seminars can be found on the APD website. Those selected will next complete a background investigation and suitability assessment, as well as a polygraph. Applicants who pass may receive a conditional offer of employment pending a medical exam, drug test, and psychological assessment. Finally, accepted candidates will proceed to training at the City of Aurora Public Safety Training Center.

For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a city like Aurora, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.

Nicholas Metz was appointed to serve as Chief of Police in 2015. Chief Metz previously served with the Seattle Police Department for over 30 years, working his way up the ladder to the position of assistant chief before accepting the top cop position in Aurora.

City of Aurora Public Safety Training Center

Aurora police recruits will spend 26 weeks (14 weeks for lateral recruits) training at the state-of-the-art City of Aurora Public Safety Training Center.3 The academy emphasizes teamwork in both mental and physical work, with recruits rotating through teams from the first day through graduation. Recruits earn a salary while in training. To graduate, candidates must maintain an average of 70% or better overall and on all skills tests.3 Following graduation, newly-sworn officers are paired with experienced training officers for further field training before receiving their own assignments.

“Educate yourself before making the commitment to join law enforcement. Oftentimes applicants apply to law enforcement agencies without researching what the job entails. Participate in ride alongs, take advantage of any opportunity to gain exposure to the agency you’re applying for, talk with officers on the street.” – Officer Nicole Wicklund, Police Recruiter, Aurora, Colorado Police Department.

Aurora Police Department Information

The Aurora Police Department has the goal of making Aurora the safest large city in the US. The men and women of the APD work to reduce crime as well as the fear of crime while building community relationships and providing public education. The department is broadly organized into four divisions: Operations, Metro, Compliance and Professional Standards, and Business Services.

Special assignments, which typically come with the title of Police Investigator, are available on a variety of units and task forces including the Metro Gang Task Force, the Gang Intervention Unit, and the Metropolitan Auto Theft Team. Except for training officers, who are organized under the Compliance and Professional Standards Division, most special assignments are in the Metro and Operations divisions.

The APD also maintains a Neighborhood Policing Unit, which is a full-time police bicycle enforcement team. Members of this unit patrol their assigned areas on bicycle, building relationships with community members across Aurora with a special emphasis on the areas of Westerly Creek and the Stanley Marketplace. The department also hosts youth and adult police academies. In order to match the department’s demographics with the demographics of the city it serves, the APD is currently emphasizing diversity in recruiting and hiring.

Department Contact Information

15001 E Alameda Pkwy
Aurora, CO 80012
(303) 739-6000
APD Website
APD Facebook
APD Twitter

Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook

The starting salary for APD recruits is $56,984 per year, with annual increases up to $91,986 per year.3 As of 2018, the average salary for police in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro was $78,850 per year.4 Aurora police officers receive generous vacation time and personal holidays and leave, as well as sick leave. All officers will be covered by the city’s health insurance plans and have options for selecting additional dental, vision, and life insurance. Police officers with the APD are vested in the city retirement plan after five years of service; officers contribute 11% of their bi-weekly salary to their pension, with a city match of 11%.3 Deferred compensation plans are also offered.

The number of cops in Colorado is projected to increase by 13% through 2026.5 An average of 810 annual openings, which includes both new jobs and replacements, is expected.5 The exact number of police officers hired depends on the city’s annual budget and police resignations and retirements for the year. To view open listings for police officers in Aurora and the surrounding Denver metro, visit our police jobs board.

Cities and Police Departments Near Aurora

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 4,820 police and sheriff’s patrol officers employed in the Denver-Aurora metro area.5 While there are many opportunities to work for the major local PDs including Lakewood, Denver, and Aurora, there are also opportunities to work in smaller surrounding communities. The below table compares selected area cities based on police employment and crime data.

CityForce Name/AbbreviationCity Population6Police Dept. Total Employees7Sworn Officers7Civilian Staff7Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People8Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People8
AuroraAurora Police Department (APD)366,6238106701400.533.1
CentennialArapaho County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO)17113734N/AN/AN/A
DenverDenver Police Department (DPD)716,4921,7991,4833160.643.5
LakewoodLakewood Police Department (LPD)154,9584172631540.565.5
LittletonLittleton Police Department (LPD)47,7349570250.12.7

Additional Resources

References:
1. Data USA, Aurora, Colorado: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/cleveland-oh/
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Aurora, Colorado: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/ohio/cleveland
3. Aurora Police Department: https://www.auroragov.org/residents/public_safety/police
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19740.htm
5. Projections Central: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045218
7. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
8. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view